Is the guest's credit card charged before the booking is confirmed?

This is a question about how Airbnb processes statements, and would possibly be better addressed to Airbnb. But I’m not sure I can rely on their reps to provide accurate information. However, there should be people here who can answer this question.

When a guest places a booking request, is the card charged immediately? I thought the card was supposed to be charged when the booking was accepted. But based on what sporadic information I’ve received from my guests (this topic isn’t exactly a pressing matter so I’ve never really followed it up), it seems that the card may in fact be charged when the booking request happens. Can anyone clarify what actually happens, and does anything actually happen at the credit card end when a booking request is made?

On the main page of a listing, under the big red 'Request to Book" button, there is a “You won’t be charged yet”, which seems to support the former theory. But that’s hardly conclusive evidence.

When the booking is made.

To be clear, you are saying that a charge is not made on the credit card when a booking request is made, but only when it is accepted?

Most bookings all this occirs at the same time but in this particular example when it is accepted.

This is an interesting question. I thought they put a “hold” on the guest credit card until the cancellation period had expired? So does this depend on what sort of cancellation rules you have set? Flexible/moderate/strict ?

I thought they charged the card when the full refund cancellation has expired, then guest has to go through special steps to get their limited refund when they cancel. I don’t really know though and I had no luck searching for this info.

@yecatsr - I don’t have insider information, but I’m pretty positive AirBnB charges the card when the booking is made or when it is requested, not when the cancellation period runs out. It’s extremely common practice to make money simply off of holding other people’s money.

Think of it this way - someone books my home 6 months in advance for $3000. Air charges their card, then puts that $3000 in their bank account at 2% per year interest. Six months later, they take the $3000 out and give it to me. In the meantime,the bank has paid Air $15 in interest.

I’ve always assumed it’s taken on the day of booking. Imagine how many times a card may have expired or been cancelled in the period between booking a holiday, and the actual holiday, and the hassle that would be involved then.

the payment part that confuses me, is the ‘request for money’, when done in advance of the trip.
Thankyou for booking with me, would you like the garage at £15 per day (yes please) ok, I’ll send a request.
They accept the request, and then I get an email from Airb saying they’re processing the payment, it should be in my account within 5 - 7 days. But it doesn’t turn up, until the day after the guests arrive, when I get paid for their visit. This makes perfect sense, but odd that I’m told the payment is imminent, although it isn’t.

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Makes a lot of sense to me, I just know in my world that a cc cannot get legally charged before service has been rendered or product shown as shipped. (But that’s my contract with the cc company) I’m sure hotels and air have a way around this though, or a different set of rules for their particular cc processing contract. Then there is the matter of prepayment and deposits. I always take cash for those. I’m comparing apples to oranges I’m afraid!

That’s where the hold for funds could come into play who knows. I guess a guest could better explain the process to us! :yum:

are you saying that in your world your payment won’t be taken till the holiday starts?


Thanks for the feedback. I don’t immediately see what the cancellation policy has to do with it.

I do recall a couple of instances when I accepted a booking, and it said there was a problem with the payment, which strongly suggested that indeed the card is not charged till the booking is accepted. Though of course they could have changed it later.

The discussion on this thread for the most part doesn’t address the question I had, which is, again,

Does the card get charged when the booking request takes place, or when the booking is requested?

For the purposes of this question, I’m assuming Instant Book is not in play. If it is, the question is, of course, moot.

I have not yet received a clear answer to this very simple and concrete question. The options are

a) The card is charged when the booking request takes place


b) The card is charged when the booking request is accepted.

I still think it must be (b), but really, a clear confirmation would be nice.

Well then, B. They would not charge until it’s all final and ok’d from both parties.

I made an Airbnb instant booking yesterday and my charge card was charged immediately. As to Faheem’s question I can’t imagine that the card is charged when the request is made.

I mean my other world. My work world and business cc processing account. Nothing to do with Airbnb. Sorry for the confusion.

I agree. I really don’t think they can do that. They can run a funds verification but I don’t think they are doing that either. I think you’ll have to ask Airbnb to know for sure. Or testing out as a “guest”. Try booking at a friend’s Airbnb and send a request using a phony card number. Lol then you’ll know, right?

This is exactly the problem I posted about the other day. Airbnb now lets people pay half now and half a few weeks before the stay. Problem is if, like me, your card expires in the interim, Airbnb won’t let you update the credit card, even though it is going to get declined in a few months and cause you and the host stress and embarsssing messages.